There is nothing more New York then oven baked Mac and Cheese.
Being both a hybrid of comfort and indulgence, it never fails to delight with oozy, melty goodness. Being back i this magical city I have not only fallen in love with the dish again, but felt compelled to get in to the kitchen and make my own version. Here I have taken it a step further with the addition of roasted and pureed squash and a tangy pop of sweet sundried tomato for extra flavour. The squash adds lightness to what is often a heavy dish.
All it takes is a bit of easy prep and you can kick back, watching the sun sets over the skyline with a chilled gin and tonic, whilst the oven fills your apartment with the smell of hot cheese.
For this particular dish, I opted to make the recipe with a different pasta shape, purely because sourcing a wheat-free alternative to elbow pasta in New York city is no easy feat. But you can go for any other short pasta that takes your fancy.
For those on the hunt in NYC I have listed several places selling good gluten free pasta alternatives
Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese Recipe
Serves 4 – best served with a simple rocket and tomato salad
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 200g approx or 1 1/2 cups cubed butternut squash
- 1 teaspoon dried sage
- 3 cloves garlic, grated
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
- a pinch of cayenne pepper
- a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
- ½teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¼teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 500g or 1 pound strong cheddar cheese, grated
- 500g or 1 pound gluten free fusilli or elbow pasta, uncooked
- 100g or 1 ½ cups sundried tomatoes, finely chopped
Preheat the oven to 190 degrees celsius or 375 degrees F
Add the chopped squash to a baking tray and cover with half the melted butter, grated garlic, dried sage and a good pinch of sea salt. Roast the squash in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until golden. Then remove and add to a blender with the milk, half the cheese, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Blend until the mixture is smooth.
Use the remaining butter to butter a 9-inch round or square baking pan.
In a large bowl, combine remaining grated cheese, squash mixture and uncooked pasta. Pour into prepared pan, cover tightly with foil and bake 30 minutes.
Uncover pan, stir gently, sprinkle the top with remaining cheese, then place back in the oven and bake in uncovered for 30 minutes more, until browned.
Let the mac and cheese cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.